@AllenWest Weekly Update | Next Generation TV | 9/13/13

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Another Fine Obama Mess
The president’s bumbling Syrian policy keeps getting worse.
I have listened to countless experts, pundits and self-acclaimed strategists give their insights into the current Syrian episode, and some of these folks could not find their way out of an open-end paper bag. Unfortunately, many of them are part of the Obama administration.President Obama addressed the nation on Tuesday evening to make his case for the United States to embark upon military action in Syria. However, Obama ended the speech calling for a “pause,” especially because he had just been outmaneuvered by Russian President Vladimir Putin and lacked congressional votes for an attack.The speech ended up being totally confusing, and if I were his adviser – nah, hell has not frozen over – I would have told him not to give that pointless speech.

The realities of Syrian war

First of all, if America is concerned about the use of chemical weapons, we need to understand their delivery method. Chemical weapons are delivered via surface-to-surface systems, normally artillery shells, or even rocket and missiles. These mobile platforms are easily hidden. In Gaza Strip, Hamas Islamic terrorists have converted garbage trucks into multiple rocket-launcher platforms.You also cannot attack a chemical weapons stockpile without creating a larger and more deadly event because high levels of heat are need to destroy the weapons. In other words, we cannot bomb Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s delivery means or his chemical stockpile.Furthermore, the “rebel” forces in Syria may have used chemical weapons. They simply could convert chemical weapons shells into improvised explosive devices and detonate them in target areas based upon prevailing winds for maximum effect.

So when Obama says he intends to degrade Assad’s ability to use chemical weapons, he cannot do that without “boots on the ground.” The best way to deliver precision-guided munitions against mobile targets is to have someone on the ground “lasing” the target and communicating with the aerial delivery platform.

Standoff weapons such as Tomahawk cruise missiles also are only effective against stationary targets, and you can bet by now that Syria’s mobile systems have been repositioned into areas that would yield high levels of collateral damage.

And let us not forget that Syria has one of the most sophisticated and intricate surface-to-air missile systems in the world thanks to our Russian friends. Any U.S. air campaign would not be a walk in the park. Only the boldness of the Israeli Air Force enabled that country’s airmen to enter Syrian airspace and attack targets.

Also remember that air power does not win a ground engagement, as we learned from the folly of Bill Clinton against the Serbs in the Balkans. I still remember the pictures of Serbian forces giving us their version of the “finger” as they conducted their retrograde operation. Their systems were intact.

There are no good guys

Some people believe that bombing Assad’s airfields and air force would be just punishment for using chemical weapons. Well, do that and you may tip the balance of the civil war to the rebels – and we may not want to do that.They are no different from the rebels we assisted in Libya. The Free Syrian Army, led by Col. Riad al-Asaad, initially defected from the Syrian Army and Assad regime. The problem is that the FSA has been sorely neglected in armament, capability and logistical support. If the United States were to somehow find a precision means to support the FSA, we would have to fight Assad’s forces and the Islamists under command of Brigadier Gen. Salim Idriss and the Supreme Military Council.Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the Muslim Brotherhood (i.e., al Qaeda) support the SMC. The two most prominent of the Islamist forces are the Jubhat-al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. These are not organizations we want to tip the balance toward, as we did in Libya.

And no better, Iran and Hezbollah are aligned with Assad. This is really a schism between Sunni and Shiite Islamists. The window of opportunity for our intervention closed some two years ago.

Is the use of chemical weapons against civilians horrific? Yes. But the level of brutality and beheadings that occur in most of the Islamic world are just as horrifying. One can read daily about atrocities being committed from Nigeria to Egypt, to the Gaza Strip, to Iraq and to Pakistan.

We cannot embark upon a venture under the guise of having a responsibility to protect unless we want to be all over the world – and the Obama administration has severely decimated our military capability.

We also cannot talk about Syria without examining the unintended consequences of Obama’s ill-conceived operation in Libya. Motivated by far fewer casualties than in Syria, Obama, without congressional approval, provided air and naval power to Islamists. They later showed their gratitude by attacking our consulate and murdering Ambassador Chris Stevens, information management officer Sean Smith, and former U.S. Navy SEALS Ty Woods and Glenn Doherty.

The Islamic terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, was a true national security interest, yet Obama showed no indignation, save against a crude video that his team said inspired the attack. He ordered no response or military action, and now he wants America to forget Benghazi even as he insists that we must act in Syria.

Obama actually referred to Benghazi and his abandoning of Americans under attack and dying as a “phony scandal.”

We’re playing chess, not checkers

I will not be guilt-tripped into believing we must act in Syria because President Obama went off teleprompter. World War I began based upon miscalculations and a series of uncontrollable events that were set in motion.Syria is not our problem; it is the problem of President Vladimir Putin and Russia. If they want to maintain a warm weather port in the Mediterranean Sea, let Putin decide whether he wants Syria to fall into the hands of Islamists.Putin has shown himself the master strategist and outmaneuvered Obama this week, even writing an op-ed in The New York Times. The Obama spin masters cannot twist this into a favorable position for their confused community organizer.

Strategically, if Obama wanted to have an influence, he would have maintained a residual force in Iraq, but campaign promises override strategic vision. Obama plays foreign policy checkers, not chess. He said his foreign policy involved “pivoting away from the Middle East,” and he has abdicated American influence in the region, to the detriment of Israel, by doing just that.

The real fight in the Middle East for America is against the Muslim Brotherhood and their spawn, and against Iran. They must be defeated.

You want to do something related to Syria? Provide logistical support to Jordan and the Syrian refugee camps. Start supporting the Egyptian Army in crushing the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamist forces in the Sinai Peninsula. And at some time we will have to conduct a strategic strike against Iran, but let’s not tell them we are coming and what the targets are!

We must develop better alliances with the minority ethnic groups friendly to America – Assyrians, Copts, Kurds and others. Yes, I support an independent Kurdistan, which would be a great friend to America.

We also need to promote American energy security. That means developing our own resources and telling OPEC and the Organization of Islamic Countries to take a hike. Lastly, let’s reaffirm our commitment to our best ally in the Middle East, Israel.

America needs strategists and leaders who know how to play chess, not checkers.

Steadfast and Loyal,

Allen B. West

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